National organization of Person with disabilities of Serbia

The Disability Movement has a long tradition in the Republic of Serbia, and the unification of associations of organisations of persons with disabilities into NOOIS of 22 July 2007 symbolizes the strong determination of the Disability Movement to work systematically and in partnership with the state authorities towards solving numerous disability related issues and problems. Accordingly, the informal network of organizations of persons with disabilities evolved into NOOIS as a formal network with a legal status, similar to many such organisations in Europe.

NOOIS, as the umbrella organization, represents over 800,000 persons with disabilities gathered in associations of organizations of persons with individual or various types of disability, as well as their legal advocates. Today, NOOIS brings together 28 associations with about 450 local organizations from all over Serbia.

The Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs – the Department for the Protection of Persons with Disabilities is the most important partner that supports the entire work and activities of NOOIS and other nationwide networked associations and organizations of persons with disabilities.

The most important programs of NOOIS include the improvement of the legislative framework governing protection of persons with disabilities, strengthening the capacity of organizations, empowering and strengthening the potential of young people with disabilities through the Academy of Young Leaders and the Youth Club, empowering and strengthening the potential of women with disabilities, emergency response with respect to persons with disabilities, raising public awareness of disability issues, and marking important dates and traditional events, visibility for disability campaigns and the #SERBIAWITHOUTBARRIERS campaign, educational programs, research, publishing and promotional activities, the “J=DNAKI” (equal) contest and the “Serbia without barriers” photo contest.

The 10th anniversary of the establishment of NOOIS was celebrated on 4 December 2017, on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, under the auspices of the President of the Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, who addressed numerous participants in the related event and played a game of chess with the best blind chess player.

NOOIS is recognized by the state and civil society as a representative organization of the disability movement, and in recognition of its achievements, on the occasion of Armistice Day 2020, it was awarded with the Silver Medal for Merit by the President of the Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic.

Through its activities, ever since its establishment, NOOIS strives to create conditions that would enable every person with disability to enjoy all civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, with full respect for dignity and individual autonomy, and in accordance with the motto “Nothing about us without us.”


Ivanka Jovanović,

one of the prominent leaders of the disability movement in Serbia with many-years’ experience in the domestic and international disability movement, has been the executive director of the National Organization of Persons with Disabilities of Serbia (NOOIS) since its establishment on 22 July 2007.

She has been a disability movement activist since the age of 18, when she became a member of the Youth Organization of persons with muscular dystrophy within EAMDA (European Alliance of Neuromuscular Disorders Associations). In Serbia, she first became active in the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Serbia as an expert associate and long-time editor-in-chief of the “Vesnik MD” (MD Herald) magazine, which was also founded by her.

Since 2008, she has been very active in international engagement as NOOIS representative in numerous bodies, including the European Disability Forum, the Executive Committee of Disabled Peoples’ International Europe (DPI-Europe), the European Muscular Dystrophy Association, the Executive Committee of the European Federation of Neurological Association (EFNA), and since 2013 she has been cooperating with the United Nations, especially with the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

She is a member of the Council for Persons with Disabilities of the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the Ethics Committee of Serbia, as well as a member of various working groups tasked with the drafting of strategic documents.

She graduated from the Faculty of Political Sciences of the University of Belgrade where she earned bachelor’s degree in political science, journalism and communication in 1993. She holds a management trainer diploma since 2002, and has been intensively working as a trainer for more than 10 years.

She is the author or co-author of many manuals and researches and participated in the implementation of numerous projects.

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